Meet Jimmy, The Guy Behind the Punkest YouTube Channel of 2016
The best punk resource of the year is operated by an anonymous guy who identifies as a cartoonish dog.
The punkest way to discover and access new music in 2016 is through YouTube, and the punkest guy on You Tube is Jimmy Smith. With a channel that is nearing 5000 subscribers, Jimmy posts almost daily uploads - often with a link to a free download - of new music from punk bands.
As well as monthly mixes, that include his cool cartoon art, Jimmy's uploads feature informed and astute descriptions. Not only is the guy generous with his time and music, he's a gun writer who offers up some of the best and honest punk reviews.
While Jimmy reminds users to support bands and labels, his resource has helped bands such as Lumpy and the Dumpers, Rik and the Pigs and The Cowboys reach a much wider audience.
He's built a loyal fanbase too. A few weeks ago, when the channel went down for a short time, there was general concern, not from people who couldn't access Lumpy and the Dumpers tapes, but for Jimmy's well-being.
For an anonymous guy who posts punk rock videos on the internet and identifies as a cartoonish dog, Jimmy is a complicated character. He comes across as funny, sarcastic and sensitive. He loves his channel but it takes up a lot of time and effort to maintain. There has been talk that he may finish up but for the sake of accessible and quality and punk rock, we hope that's it not the case.
Noisey: Jimmy, you provide a valuable service. How much of your time does it take?
Jimmy Smith: The actual videos are easy as hell, you could seriously teach a monkey to do it. But writing is a goddamn mess. I don't find writing to be particularly 'fun' or 'easy' but it does take up a good amount of my time. I'd say that I spend an average of one to two hours on each of my posts, more or less depending on the length of the write-up and whether or not I'm genuinely passionate about the band at hand. Like, some of the posts can take up to four hours if I happen to feel like shit and can't get my brain to jive with my words, which has been happening a lot more than I'm willing to admit.
You could be considered an influencer. Your channel is possibly the first many people heard of bands such as Coneheads and Rik and the Pigs. What do you think of the term curator?
'Curator' is a bland enough label for me to go by without feeling like a total hack. It sure as hell beats being called a 'reviewer', because I definitely ain't that. If anything, I'd see myself more as a nameless clown who's got a lot of shit to say on stuff that barely anyone cares about. Er, excuse me, didn't mean to break the illusion there. I obviously meant to say "I am a cartoon dog on the internet."
What do people like Martin from Lumpy and the Dumpers and Mark Winter from Coneheads think of the channel?
Some folk were kind enough to relay that they supposedly 'like' my channel, but that could very well be some white lies they told to maintain a positive, supporting image in front of the gullies who ask. For all I know, Mark and Marty could be talking MAD shit behind closed doors. I mean, I'm not suggesting that they would, but it's not outside the realm of possibility yet. Not that it matters much. At the end of the day, it's just another two guys to add to the list of people who like/hate me. I already know that a good amount of people punks are all-for Jimmy. What more validation could I possibly need?
Do you think more people are using YouTube to source and get music?
Definitely, I personally think Youtube's the best platform to find new music these days. Blogs are dead and Bandcamp is plagued by a bunch of generic shit, so digging through either can easily prove to be a fruitless endeavour. YouTube, on the other hand, is not only infinitely times easier to browse, but also serves as a means to weed out a lot of the mediocre material that you'd surely find on other music-oriented sites, since who would bother going through the (minimal) efforts needed to upload something shitty? Though to be fair, YouTube is also home to a near-infinite amount of Vine compilations and clips of late-night talk shows, so it isn't exactly the most "optimal" music hosting site.
You've weighed into this debate before but the limited release tapes that quickly sell out and then are sold at inflated prices has upset some.
I'm indifferent when it comes to physical merchandise, tapes especially. I'm still all for supporting bands in a monetary sense, and highly recommend that people do. If buying a shit-ton of merch is your cup of tea, then by all means, go ahead – assuming it's actually coming from the source, that is. Paying an exorbitant amount of money to these no-name resellers just to get ahold of those "limited" tapes is the stupidest, most counterproductive thing.
Ignoring whether or not any of this music is actually worth anything, the fact you're willingly enabling these collector nerds by filling their pockets with cash, just to get something that other people invested their time and money into making, is enough to roll your eyes at. You aren't supporting anything by doing that. Tapes don't matter, money doesn't matter, modern-day punk isn't an investment. Just lighten the fuck up and enjoy some good tunes. But yeah, I imagine punk's got a lot more to worry about than what price some dope is flipping a tape on Discogs for. Gatekeeping and bigotry is supposedly a concern, but I ain't entirely up to speed about what's going on with this "punk" thing since, y'know, I'm a dog. So what do I know? I lick my ass for fun, dude. Bark bark.
Are you getting sick of being sent blown out basement recordings featuring synths and 40-second punk songs?
No way, having a constant stream of new talent is great, regardless if I end up enjoying their stuff. It's beyond flattering that anyone gives a shit about my opinion to begin with. The problem is when I have to these bands. I ain't setting out to be no critic, so I make sure to say nothing but nice things to whoever shares their stuff with me. It's just that, uh… some people really make me second-guess that principle, if you sniff my drift.
You have mentioned that the future of the channel is up in the air. What are you thinking at the moment?
Yeah, I'm in a rough spot right now. I really need to focus on getting my shit together and learn how to get through the immediate layer of shit in front of me, so that way I can move onto the slightly thinner layer of shit that's surely right behind it. Like, make progress on bettering myself and stuff. Unfortunately, having to tend to my channel for four or so hours a day can easily impede that, so I'm not sure if it's currently the best thing for me. My feelings towards my channel may constantly be fluctuating, but right now, I can at least say that the channel's gonna stay up for good. The page will still be updated too, but I can't promise any sort of regularity to my postings as of now. Gotta finish watching these Jimmy Kimmel clips first.